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McDaniel to be inducted into College Football Hall of Fame

December 09, 2008


* Two Time First Team All-America
* Won Morris Trophy as Pac-10's Top Offensive Lineman in 1986
* Started 39 consecutive games for the Sun Devils and is a member of ASU's All-Century Team

By Steve Richardson, NFF Correspondent

Randall McDaniel was possibly one of the best athletes to ever enroll at Arizona State University in the mid 1980s. At 6-foot-3, he played center on the high school basketball team, tight end in football and was a sprinter in track at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix.

"I didn't start playing football until I was a freshman in high school," McDaniel said. "Before that I was mainly a baseball and basketball guy. In my day, you wanted to play all the sports. So I started football and track when I got to high school."

When McDaniel got to Arizona State, he became an offensive lineman. His sophomore season Coach John Cooper arrived, and the Sun Devils went to three straight bowl games.

"Randall McDaniel was one of the very best players I coached while at Arizona State, and one of the best I've ever had a chance to coach," said John Cooper, who coached at Arizona State from 1985-87 and also is a member of the 2008 College Football Hall of Fame Class. "I always thought he would turn into a great player and he had a phenomenal college and professional career."

McDaniel, who would go on to a star-studded 14-year professional career with Minnesota and Tampa Bay that included 12 Pro Bowl invitations, didn't always believe that would happen when he was younger.

"When I was growing up I never imagined I'd get to play football for the Sun Devils or earn a college degree or have the chance to make a living playing the game I loved," McDaniel said. "When I stop and think about it now, it is still unbelievable to me. I'm just thankful my parents made me value education and hard work. I would never have had any of these opportunities."

At Arizona State, McDaniel anchored an offensive line that helped the Sun Devils to a 10-1-1 record in 1986, including a 22-15 victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

"My all-time favorite memory from my time with the Sun Devils is beating Michigan in the 1987 Rose Bowl. We had amazing talent on that team. What I really loved was that we had an offensive line made up of guys who were all (from) Arizona. That was really special."

Other starting offensive linemen on the Rose Bowl team were Danny Villa, Kevin Thomas, Todd Kalis and Jim Warne. Many of them went on to professional careers as did McDaniel, who now lives in Shorewood, Minn. McDaniel has created and currently works on "Team McDaniel," an afterschool program to encourage community service by middle school students and the R.O.C.K (Reaching Out to Challenge Kids) Foundation, an umbrella organization for his many community initiatives.

"When I came home from work, there was a package from the Football Foundation," McDaniel said. "When I opened it, there was a football inscribed with my name with '2008 College Football Hall of Fame Class.' At first I just stared at it trying to believe what it said. Over the years, other people would comment on how they thought I should be in the College Football Hall of Fame, but you never expect it to happen to you....It's always difficult for an offensive lineman to receive an individual award. I know the only way you succeed in the trenches is to have five guys working on every play."

The 2008 Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the NFF's Annual Awards Dinner, held at New York City's historic Waldorf=Astoria Hotel on Tuesday, December 9. The National Hall of Fame Salute at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl follows on January 5, giving the class recognition on a national stage, and events culminate with the College Football Hall of Fame's Enshrinement Festival in South Bend, Ind., July 17-18.

The 2008 class includes Troy Aikman (UCLA), Billy Cannon (LSU), Jim Dombrowski (UVA), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Wilber Marshall (Florida), Rueben Mayes (Washington State), Randall McDaniel (ASU), Don McPherson (Syracuse), Jay Novacek (Wyoming), Dave Parks (Texas Tech), Ron Simmons (Florida State), Thurman Thomas (Oklahoma State), Arnold Tucker (Army), Coach John Cooper (Tulsa, ASU, Ohio State) and Coach Lou Holtz (William & Mary, NC State, Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame, South Carolina).